Tottenham rivals ‘eye Lloyd Kelly deal’ to derail Johan Lange’s first window

Tottenham could be made to rue their failed attempt to sign Lloyd Kelly during the summer. Italian giants AC Milan and Juventus are reportedly eyeing up a swoop for the Bournemouth star, which would deny technical director Johan Lange a bargain transfer opportunity in the January window.

Kelly’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, and he is not expected to sign renewed terms with the Cherries. As a result, overseas teams will be permitted to negotiate a pre-contract agreement ahead of a free summer move.

According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Milan and Juve are hoping to do just that. The Rossoneri are actively ‘working on a deal’, while their Turin rivals remain ‘informed’ and ready to pounce should an opportunity emerge.

Kelly can play at centre-back or full-back, and Spurs expressed their interest with a £20million bid on deadline day. With no time to sign a replacement, Bournemouth turned down the approach.

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Tottenham now face the prospect of missing out altogether as AC Milan and the Bianconeri close in. A cut-price, low-risk acquisition may be exactly how Lange wants to kick-start his tenure as technical director.

The Dane was appointed to replace Fabio Paratici earlier this month, having previously overseen recruitment at Aston Villa. Spurs’ chief football officer, Scott Munn, pointed to Lange’s ‘excellent track record in scouting and signing many talented and successful youth and senior players’.

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Kelly has racked up more than 100 first-team appearances since signing for Bournemouth in 2019. He rose through the ranks with Bristol City and was a regular for England at youth level.

The 25-year-old has appeared in six of the Cherries’ 10 Premier League games so far this campaign, with manager Andoni Iraola made to wait until last Saturday for his first league victory. Spurs, by contrast, are flying high at the top of the table.

If Kelly opts to take the leap of faith and move to Serie A, he could end up sharing a dressing room with compatriots Fikayo Tomori and Ruben Loftus-Cheek at AC Milan, or Samuel Iling-Junior at Juventus.

The likes of Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham have also forged successful careers for themselves in Italy, with more and more English players trying their luck outside the Premier League.

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